Former President Donald Trump removed key lines from a draft document of his Jan. 7, 2021, speech that would have condemned rioters at the Capitol insurrection the day prior as not representing “our movement.”
A screengrab of Trump’s draft speech, which he made handwritten edits to, is shown in a video of Jan. 6 committee evidence and testimony shared by panel member Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) on Twitter. The video shows edits and various lines crossed out of the prepared remarks in black Sharpie, which Trump’s daughter Ivanka identified as her father’s handwriting in an interview with the committee.
POLITICO originally obtained and reported on Trump’s draft speech, titled “Remarks on National Healing,” in January.
The former president specifically crossed out a line directed at Jan. 6 rioters that said: “I want to be very clear. You do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.” He also changed a line that originally said those who broke the law “belong in jail” to instead say that they “will pay.”
Another portion crossed out by Trump reads: “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message — not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.”
In an interview with the Jan. 6 panel, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner said he didn’t know why Trump crossed those lines out.
Several former Trump aides also said in interviews with the panel that they pushed the president to put out a stronger statement on Jan. 7 condemning the riot, especially following an influx of criticism and talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Trump’s former director of the presidential personnel office, John McEntee, said in an interview with the committee that he believed the former president was reluctant to give the speech and that Kushner urged him to “nudge this along” with Trump.
Both former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Kushner said in interviews that they felt it was important for Trump to give the speech to de-escalate the criticism and detach himself from the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
“In my view, he needed to express very clearly that the people who committed violent acts, went into the Capitol, did what they did, should be prosecuted and should be arrested,” Cipollone said.
Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said in an interview with the committee that she believed there was concern among people around Trump that the 25th Amendment would be invoked if he didn’t make a statement condemning the violence. She also said there were concerns about Trump’s legacy.
“The secondary reason for that was think about what might happen in the final 15 days of your presidency if we don’t do this. There’s already talks about invoking the 25th Amendment. You need this as cover,” she said.
The post New Jan. 6 panel evidence shows Trump altered his post-Capitol riot speech appeared first on Politico.